I felt blog ego come upon me (horrors, ego!) when Ronn challenged my assessment that the countertop in this kitchen was original. Maybe yes, maybe no, but if his belief is that it’s 90s because of the integral backsplash and edge (rather than the pattern) – I did respond that I’ve spotted integral design for these in the 50s. Case in point, this 1955 Micarta countertop. So, you can go this way, folks, and be historically accurate. In fact – today this is the standard, and the cheapest way to go from Home Depot, for example. Butcher block laminate for example, is timeless, if you’d like to go this route.
Meanwhile, I also wanted to use this photo to point out the glass corner shelves. I replicated this look by using cabinet doors as the ‘sides’ of the shelves – then attaching glass with hardware used for shower shelving:
1. I first took two wall cabinet doors off of a 24″ cabinet. So, they were each 12″ wide, a bit less than the side of the cabinet, so I set them back a smidgen, it looks fine. These front doors – then became the structure for the glass to attach too. This was important in particular because on one side, I had only a dead gaping hole corner piece frame to attach to, no cabinet — see the photo from the Old House Interiors story. That aqua piece connecting the shelves to the structural corner piece is a cabinet door. Hope you can follow this. If you have full wood cabinets on both sides of your window, you could just attach directly to them and save this doors-from-a wall-cabinet-turn-into-sides-to-set-the-corner-shelves-step. However, if you are doing this with steel cabinets, I think that the extra structural support for the glass shelves is a smart idea.
3. Install glass shelves. I think we used 1/4 inch but it may have been 3/8. There are lots of choices, we used an aqua glass which is perfect for our cabinets. A honed and polished edge. We cut our glass to size – had to, because one shelf (the one above) is actually 1″ narrower along the back than the other, to fill the space. Remember, we were retrofitting someone else’s kitchen into ours. Things were off by only 1″, a miracle, and even more so after you consider we put in the new big picture window and casements including fitting into the front brick configuration. Welcome to another episode of this old house. These shelves were actually a great solution to optically managing the difference. You’d never ever notice. The glass was wicked expensive. Like, $800 total. But it looks fabulous, makes a huge difference. Wood shelves would have been cheaper but then I would have wanted them edged in stainless steel. Money one way or another. The glass is light and bright – better – especially in my steel kitchen.
If you have wood cabinets, on the other hand, wood cubbies would be fine, I think, you can do this for $60 or less – with 12×12 wood corners available from Wal-Mart etc. Or, make them yourself – from extra cabinet doors would be great because then the thickness would be the same.
I love the corners. They make the kitchen feel more spacious and when you are at the sink, in particular, it’s nice not to have a big block of honkin’ wood cabinet on top of you. If you’ve got the space, I think it’s best to see if the full “quarter” 12 x12 or 13 x 13 will work – more space for cute things, more open. But if you’ve got a smaller kitchen, smaller shelves as in the top photo may be better. This is another decision to make based on scale.